Saqiyuq is a collection of stories from the lives of three Inuit women: Apphia, Rhoda and Sandra. It consists of biographies and accounts from these three generations. This book enables the reader to see the great evolution of the Inuit lifestyle during the twentieth century. The author, Nancy Wachowich, is an anthropologist. In this book, she uses the lives of three Inuit women to illustrate her research concerning arctic anthropology. This research was ordered by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. She went in person to the Baffin Bay in order to meet these women and collect their accounts. Indeed, the reader can be the witness of the dramatic (and definitive?) changes which occurred, in only sixty years, in this region. Apphia, the grandmother, was used to a traditional Inuit way of life and she is the narrator during the main part of the book. She lived almost exactly like her ancestors did; she had eleven children, traveled by foot or with dog team in the land, was sewing caribou skin or cooking seal meat while the husband she did not choose was hunting. But little by little, everything changed.
[...] We can understand the degree of isolation of the Inuit peoples when we realize that the Second World War is never mentioned in Saqiyuq. At that time, they were not concerned by the Great Depression. They have their semi-nomadic way of life and their only concern is hunting in order to eat and have warm clothes. They do not know about the first progresses that occurred in Canada. In fact, it is difficult to know even if these people can be considered _or considered themselves_ as Canadians. [...]
[...] Apphia tells that she was always scared as a child and as a young adult (page 28: were always on guard”). Now Inuit people have the possibility to live in warm houses, they are not always obliged to hunt if they want to eat and they can also buy warm clothes and not make them anymore. Of course, this appreciation is engrained in Western thought but globally, these indicators are sources of comfort. At that time, Inuit people also benefited from the development of the state, thanks to the Keynesian doctrine. [...]
[...] We can realize the huge impact of the western influence on the Inuit society: we are the witnesses of both the positive and negative consequences without having the feeling that we are manipulated by one or the other side because the author is a South Canadian and the narrators are Inuit. The author saves us no detail, even the most difficult, while remaining very neutral. At the same time, I would argue that this neutrality of Nancy Wachowich is also the weakness of the book. [...]
[...] The medical care was free of charge too and Inuit people now live longer and are in better health. So the standard of living and the indicator of human development has become higher. What's more, contrary to what people can sometimes think, the modernity did not strike a blow at the solidarity. Of course it deeply modified it but there is still a strong solidarity in the Inuit society. The different accounts clearly show that; when the traditional way of life was dominant, the solidarity consisted of sharing the animals killed during hunting or helping to sew skin clothes. [...]
[...] The Inuit society was not materialistic before the arrival of the Qallunaat. In fact, Inuit were imposed new values and norms by the colonists. The most significant example is probably religion. Inuit had to renounce their traditional religions and the shamans had to deny their faith in order to be converted to Christianity. They were baptized whereas they did not even know exactly what it means. They were told to believe in God and in Jesus, some are Catholics and others are Anglicans. [...]
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